Loves me, loves me not

[Episode 17 | 1848: Johanna]

Johanna reads a letter from her uncle to her grandmother. She plays a practical joke on one of the Owen boys by putting a frog in his chamber-pot. Johanna and her grandmother visit the grave of her mother. Johanna asks about who her father was.


The Australian curriculum: History

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The Australian Curriculum: History aims to ensure that students develop: 

  • interest in, and enjoyment of, historical study for lifelong learning and work, including their capacity and willingness to be informed and active citizens 
  • knowledge, understanding and appreciation of the past and the forces that shape societies, including Australian society 
  • understanding and use of historical concepts, such as evidence, continuity and change, cause and effect, perspectives, empathy, significance and contestability 
  • capacity to undertake historical inquiry, including skills in the analysis and use of sources, and in explanation and communication.

History activities [1]

Activity 1: Reading
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Subtheme(s): Culture; Social order and education

In this clip, Johanna reads aloud a letter from her uncle addressed to her grandmother who is illiterate. In Johanna's time many people could not read or write as they had no access to formal education.

  • As a class, ask students to consider what it would be like to be a person who is unable to read or write. Ask students to research what school was like in 19th-century Australia and who went to school.
  1. AllExperts, 'What was education like in Australia in 1850?', 
  2. Aussie Educator, 'History of Australian Education',
  3. National Archives of Australia, Documenting a Democracy, Education Act 1872 (Vic),,
  • Provide students with the literacy rates in various countries. Ask students which ten countries have the highest literacy rates and which have the lowest.  As a class, ask students to discuss why literacy is high in these countries. Ask students to find out where Australia is ranked on the list.
  • Ask students to create a Y chart about going to school in the 19th century based on the following questions:
  1. What did going to school look like?
  2. What did going to school feel like?
  3. What did going to school sound like?

  • Ask students to complete the fishbone graphic organiser about what types of literacies children need in the 21st century. On one side of the diagram students list the types of literacies children needed in the 19th century. Have students provide reasons why we need to be more literate today.


Student Activity Sheet H17.4: Reading

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